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Subjects Spiders : Nature Closeups

Spider Corpse with Fungus

October 22nd, 2011 - 11:09 AM | Filed under Featured Photos | 6 Comments

14mm long | July 5, 2011 | Victorio Siqueroli Park, Uberlandia, Minas Gerais, Brazil

Can you spot the spider corpse here? Looks like it succumbed to some sort of fungal infection. Fungi are quite diverse and I don’t recall ever seeing one quite like this one. Here’s a closer view.

Closeup of fungus

I suspect that webbing is probably from the spider itself. It probably was hiding inside a silken retreat when it died.

Side view

Would the fungus properly be called an arachnopathogen? I think so but there’s practically no hits when I search for that term.

I did find a photo with a similar looking fungus on BugGuide though. Sadly, no info on the identity of the fungus. It’s neat to see that the photo was taken not too far from where I live though.

Am I the only one that wonders if I should be wearing a surgical mask when I get close to something like this?

Green Huntsman Spider

September 5th, 2011 - 2:45 PM | Filed under Featured Photos | 2 Comments

9mm body | July 9, 2011 | Tupaciguara, Minas Gerais, Brazil

This attractive green huntsman spider in the family Sparassidae (formerly Heteropodidae) was concealed beneath a leaf. With such a striking green color, it must hunt primarily in foliage.

When I found it, it was concealed within a silken retreat on the underside of a leaf. The texture of the silk is interesting.

Concealed within silken retreat

That wouldn’t do for photos though, so I poked at it until it removed itself.

Reluctantly exposed

That did allow for some nice closeup shots though, like this one of the eyes. I always try to get a shot like this to help in the identification.

Closeup of eyes

I always try to remember to turn off one of the flash heads on my MT-24EX for these shots. Otherwise, each eye has a strange looking double highlight. I initially forgot but then I noticed while reviewing for exposure on the LCD so I took some more.

Spitting Spider

July 26th, 2011 - 8:17 PM | Filed under Featured Photos | 1 Comment

5mm body | July 3, 2011 | Tupaciguara, Minas Gerais, Brazil

Spitting spiders in the family Scytodidae are easily recognized by their high dome-shaped carapace. They are named for their behavior of spitting a liquid that turns gooey on contact, ensnaring their prey.

Although they occur in my area, I’ve never seen one around my home. For whatever reason, I don’t think I’ve made a trip to Brazil yet where I haven’t seen at least one. This one was on the underside of a small log.

Dorsolateral view

Aranha Caranguejeira – Tarantula

July 11th, 2011 - 6:34 PM | Filed under Featured Photos | 1 Comment

15mm body | July 9, 2011 | Tupaciguara, Minas Gerais, Brazil

I found this little tarantula (family Theraphosidae) under a rock. It could be full-grown, but I suspect it’s young and far from its adult size. It blends in quite well with the rocky ground.

Lateral view

Another angle

Despite its small size, it’s definitely got attitude. After some prodding, it demonstrated a classic threat display.

Don't mess with me

Huntsman Spider

July 7th, 2011 - 11:45 AM | Filed under Featured Photos | 1 Comment

13mm body | July 2, 2011 | Monte Alegre, Minas Gerais, Brazil

I’m pretty sure this is a huntsman spider in the family Sparassidae.

Frontal view

Odd Spider

July 6th, 2011 - 11:00 AM | Filed under Featured Photos | 5 Comments

7mm (body) | July 2, 2011 | Monte Alegre, Minas Gerais, Brazil

One of my brother-in-laws offered to drop me off for a few hours in a forested area on one of his farms. I was thrilled, but perhaps a bit anxious when he offered me a revolver in case I encountered a jaguar. I turned down the gun and if there was a jaguar in the area I never saw it.

The first critter I found was this odd looking spider. I spotted it while breaking up a rotting log. It’s quite flat, evolved no doubt for squeezing into tight spaces. I wanted to grab it for a closer look, but it managed to fall into the leaf litter and escape.

It’s difficult to make out details like the number and arrangement of the eyes. Maybe something in the family Thomisidae?

Jumping Spider with Prey

July 3rd, 2011 - 7:47 AM | Filed under Featured Photos | No comments

January 21, 2011 | Finca La Isla, Limon Province, Costa Rica

This little salticid has captured a small fly of some sort.

White scales on the chelicerae almost look like a mustache.

Frontal view

Male Wandering Spider

June 16th, 2011 - 9:16 PM | Filed under Featured Photos | 1 Comment

January 20, 2011 | Armonia Nature Preserve, Limon Province, Costa Rica

This wandering spider in the family Ctenidae was spotted at the base of a large tree.

The large palps leave no doubt that this is a male.

Palps indicate a male

The eye arrangement was my first clue to the family. They also have a deep groove along the mid-line of the carapace, called a fovea, just barely visible in these photos.

I wasn’t able to identify this one any further than family. It’s quite a large spider though. The body measured 25mm (~1″) and with legs it was around 80mm (~3″).

Some species of Ctenidae have a nasty reputation. Suspecting at the time that this was a Ctenid, I kept a respectful distance.

A large spider, measuring around 80mm overall.

Did you notice something missing for this spider? I surprised myself by only just now noticing that it’s missing a leg!

Speaking of missing, you might have noticed that it’s been awhile since my last post. My computer’s hard drive failed recently. Nothing was lost, but it took me awhile to reinstall everything.

Gold-spotted Orb Weaver

May 22nd, 2011 - 5:35 PM | Filed under Featured Photos | 1 Comment

18mm | January 20, 2011 | Armonia Nature Preserve, Limon Province, Costa Rica

This large orb weaver was hanging out in the understory. I believe this might be Eriophora nephiloides. Most online photos for the species show a brighter yellower abdomen. It appears to be quite variable. Here’s a photo of one similar to mine (along with what’s pictured at wikipedia).

Colorful Jumping Spider

May 16th, 2011 - 6:40 PM | Filed under Featured Photos | 2 Comments

4mm | January 19, 2011 | Armonia Nature Preserve, Limon Province, Costa Rica

It’s hard to resist jumping spiders. This little one sort of has the colors of the Costa Rican flag!

Better view of abdomen